Congratulations to Chorlton High, the first secondary school to win the Gold EAL Quality Mark

The south Manchester suburb of Chorlton is home to this secondary school where just over one third of the students are EAL learners. Thirty-eight languages are spoken in the school, the largest group being Urdu speakers. There is a significant group of Somali speaking pupils, and Arabic features as a community language and as a GCSE alongside Chinese, French, German, Gujarati, Italian, Punjabi, Spanish, Turkish and Urdu. This is one way that the school shown its support for its multilingual community in recent years.

 

The school is proud of its high visibility in the community. It sees itself as a central communication hub with a strong brand and seeks to cultivate a sense of belonging among their families and the wider community.

 

Any student new to English joining this school is welcomed by the EAL leader Susannah Haygarth and her team, whose comprehensive interview questions are the start of a conversation whereby school and family get to know each other. From the beginning, students are encouraged to start thinking about their impending learning journey and future careers. A personalised programme of support is put in place and relevant details about the student, including a few words of greeting in her/his first language, are circulated to teachers and the student goes on roll.

 

The school has a strong focus on literacy for inclusion. Under the direction of Sarah Wickstead, Assistant Head for Access and Achievement, teachers plan lessons that sit language development alongside subject knowledge; an approach which benefits all students.

 

Susannah has established links with Abraham Moss Community School in north Manchester and is active in NALDIC’s NW RIG. Susannah has also connected with School 21, to help establish the oracy programme that is delivered in Key Stage 3. These partnerships with external agencies have enhanced the EAL provision at Chorlton.

 

A notable initiative is the school’s Beelong Festival which ran for a week in June 2020. As part of Their Great Get Together, the school’s communities built on Jo Cox MP’s poignant reminder that “we have far more in common than that which divides us”, and join together in a celebration of, and with, each other: https://youtu.be/UsTAKnhU3mg.

 

Chiaka Amadi

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